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The Lost Donkeys

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3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had strayed. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the boys with you; go and look for the donkeys.” 4 He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but they did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, “Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us.” 6 But he said to him, “There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honor. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out.” 7 Then Saul replied to the boy, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What have we?” 8 The boy answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God, to tell us our way.” 9 (Formerly in Israel, anyone who went to inquire of God would say, “Come, let us go to the seer”; for the one who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.) 10 Saul said to the boy, “Good; come, let us go.” So they went to the town where the man of God was.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), .
The People: 1 Samuel 9:9
Kish (father of Saul)
Saul -
The servant -
Samuel (prophet) ,
God’s Plan for the Future
The view that God reveals the divine secret to a seer is deeply rooted in the history of prophecy. The classical prophets, beginning especially with Amos, did not want to be regarded as clairvoyants in the popular sense (; cf. ), like Samuel of old (). Despite such disclaimers, however, they were seers in a sophisticated sense who discerned God’s plan for the future. The prophet Amos declared that the storm cloud taking shape on the international horizon signified the judgment of God on the social injustices of Israel’s society.
Surely the Lord GOD [Adonai Yahweh] does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord GOD [Adonai Yahweh] has spoken,
who can but prophesy?
Bernhard W. Anderson, Contours of Old Testament Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011), 289.

Seeing Things

One of the ways a man of God manifests supernatural capacities is by showing an extraordinary awareness of facts, insights or truths about the past, the present or the future. That makes him a seer (ḥāzēh/rōʾeh), someone who can see things invisible to other people. These insights may relate to the present but invisible world, such as the location of some lost donkeys (cf. 1 Sam 9:6–20; cf. 1 Kings 22:15–23; 2 Kings 2:9–14; 6:15–23). Or they may concern the visible but still future world. A man of God can see a disaster coming upon Bethel three centuries in the future (1 Kings 13). Jeroboam’s son is sick and he sends his wife to inquire of Ahijah whether he will recover. Jeroboam knows he has not fulfilled Ahijah’s prescription regarding how he is to be king, so he gets his wife to disguise herself. This is not very logical, as a seer who could not penetrate a disguise would not be a very impressive prognosticator, and anyway Ahijah is old and has lost his sight. It is also not very effective, because Yhwh tells Ahijah who is coming and Ahijah tells his wife of the calamity hanging over Jeroboam and his family (1 Kings 14:1–19). King Ahaziah has a fall and sends to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether he will recover. Yhwh’s aide reveals this to Elijah, who intervenes to send the king’s aides back with Yhwh’s message—Ahaziah will die (2 Kings 1). Asked by a Syrian king whether his illness is fatal, Elisha speaks of Yhwh revealing to him that it is not but that he will nevertheless die, though Hazael only tells the king the former fact (2 Kings 8:7–15). So the words of a seer may concern ordinary personal needs, or major life questions for an individual, or issues significant for the nation as a whole; and these flow into each other.

The New Revised Standard Version Elisha Feeds One Hundred Men

42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” 43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’ ” 44 He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.

Any man who knows what he’s worth, isn’t worth much.

—J. Paul Getty

Money—money, like everything else—is a deception and a disappointment.

—H. G. Wells

Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.

—John Wesley

Real Money

What is real money? Gold and silver! Substitutes carry labels, “francs” or “marks” or “dollars.” However defined, it is power. It is a divisive commonality, a commodity accepted and exchanged for something else. Money is a measure of value, legal tender with which we barter for the necessities and luxuries of life. It is also the combined product of personal energy, planned initiative, and skill translated into currency.

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